A Little Nostalgia
... from years ago.
The movie Thunder Road was just an account of the going’s on in the mountains and the valleys that lay beyond the hills.
But a most real moment was on a Wednesday night, June 24th, in 1926. Hickory Police officers Price and Barrs were standing near the Central Cafe. As the midnight hours approached, they were standing their watch for law-breakers. Through the darkness, a Hudson motor coach came in from the northwestern part of town, and went up the street beside the Southeastern Express Company. Only thing was, they were going the wrong way on this one-way street. This immediately got the attention of Officers Price and Barrs. The two policemen gave chase in the new Essex car of the Hickory Police Department and stopped the men on Ninth Avenue about two blocks from the Huffry Hotel. In the haste to grab the two men, the offenders left parts of their clothing in their getaway.
Upon a search of the like-new 1925 Hudson, they found the back seat had been taken out to make room for the 102 gallons of the illegal cargo, white corn whiskey. More jars, found in cases, were canned up in half-gallon Mason glassware. Other jars were found in the luggage compartment of the attached trunk.
It was believed that the duo, possibly from Wilkes county, were trying to find the Startown road and avoid Highway 16 on their way to Charlotte, but lost their way on the darken streets of downtown Hickory. The captured whiskey had a value of around $1600.00 and the value of the Hudson coach was put at $1200.00. Two days later, under orders from Judge Jones, the booze was sent down the city drain at the corner of Eleventh Avenue and Fourteenth street, under the eyes of around 200 citizens.
Officers Charles R. Price and Barrs (right, in photo) by their vigilance, were credited by Hickory Police Chief O. E. Sigmon (left, in photo), with the largest capture of unlawful booze in the history of the city.
"The Adventures of Setzer's Super Jeep"
In Conover, the first large market was Setzer's Supermarket, owned by J. Ray Setzer. Last time I was in Conover, one could still see part of the sign on the side of the building on Main St. In late 1948, Ray bought a brand new 1949 Willys Jeep, Black in color. The driver was to be John Barkley, who had been working in the store as a stockman. Setzer's was the first grocery store that began delivering food in the area. On Saturday morning, I would hear brakes squealing and a "Beep Beep" !! in front of our house, which was directly behind the Clinic. The Jeep horn must have been the inspiration for the Road Runner's beep. I would go out and get in the Jeep, and ride with Barkley while he delivered groceries, which include sacks of feed. A customer in the store, once mentioned to John that he wanted the feed one of those "Checkered Sacks".. The sack was actually covered with small flower prints. After this error, we called all feed sacks "Checkered".. People used these feed sacks to make clothing . At the delivery point, I would help carry groceries into the house. The occupants would sometimes stand by, impressed by the act of delivery...Ain't been done before!.. I think sometimes, the people would mention they were not home, but put the groceries inside, as they left the door unlocked. ( This was a normal. At the time, one could walk down the main drag in Conover, and see most of the parked cars with windows down,and ignition keys in their locks...) After unloading, Barkley would drive around for a bit. Many areas of road would get very muddy, and John did his best to get the Jeep stuck in the red mud...Red mud is viscous stuff , as anyone who has experienced the trials of driving in it knows. Never did the Jeep get stuck...or give any trouble. On one these excursion out on Highway 16, we turned onto a dirt road, and I got behind the wheel. I'd been learning to drive.. Didn't do too well this time, as I damn near hit a Hay Rake on side of the road. Whooeee !! Shook me up...! At a later time, McRee's Grocery purchased a surplus military Jeep, and painted it Silver. So, Conover had 2 Jeeps. One Halloween, some trick or treaters got the Super Jeep on J. Ray's front porch.. Don't know how they did it. J. Ray lived on the north side of the old Concordia Campus.. J. Ray Setzer was another Character. Clarence Canrobert and I used to do some caddying for Doc. Cloninger, and J. Ray. Both were quick witted, and always cracking wise. Them wuz the good times !!
... Walt Grigg
All photos courtesy of Don Barker
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